The Magic of Ditching Email 

You know you've thought about it. 13 people actually did it — for science.

At least once a day, as I watch a wave of email alerts come across my desktop, I think to myself, “I wish I could quit email.” Email is like a little kid pulling at your pant leg and begging for Cocoa Puffs while you’re trying to grocery shop: It’s distracting. And a nuisance. And not nearly as cute as a child. But I can’t give up email because I work on the Internet and, well, that’s just not how the life of someone whose livelihood relies on things that happen on the Internet works.

So, I check my email six trillion times a day and dream about what it would be like to give it up. But thanks to a new study, I don’t have to imagine what it would be like anymore: As Science of Us reports, a recent small study got 13 employees at a government facility to ditch email for a week to see how it impacted their lives. Turns out, ditching email works all sorts of magic. 

Researchers monitored both the 13 workers who ditched email and the rest of the company with heart-rate monitors and sensors. What they found was that, while the 13 workers who ditched email were initially anxious (I mean, can you imagine?), over the course of the week, their heart rates lowered and they reported feeling happier and less anxious. Plus, they moved more throughout the day — because they actually had to get up and talk to people during work — and when they were at their desks, they were more focused on work tasks than those who had the distraction of email.

Who else agrees that all of these side effects — lowered anxiety, increased movement, happiness and productivity — would make for a much more pleasant life? Yeah, I thought so.

Even when the participants came back to an inbox stuffed full of emails a week later, they weren’t stressed about it. They reported that it was easier to go through a bunch of emails at once rather than have email interrupt their lives every second of the day. Plus, they realized that many of the emails they got weren’t actually urgent, or even important.

So, there we have it: The magical world of life without email. If are lucky enough to jump on the bandwagon, even just for a few days, it might be worth trying. (One of Be Well Philly’s own tried it awhile back for two whole weeks. Needless to say, it was magical.)

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